The (not-so) overnight popularity of slow livingtext_fields
Some indigenous cultures believe that humans are not very different from plants and animals. They say humans are meant to exist like other living beings. We are supposed to breathe and sustain our bodies and grow as part of an ecosystem.
What we are not meant to do is run after made-up constructs like money and die in the pursuit of overconsumption. Humans are also not meant to churn their brains like machines.
This is precisely the essence of slow living. It is the art of savouring life at a leisurely pace and breaking free of capitalist notions as much as you can. Slow living encourages that you do less and allow yourself to simply exist. While this may sound very much close to being lazy, the idea is to live in the present instead of hustling all day. It is also about redefining satisfaction and success.
The sweetness of doing nothing
Unsurprisingly, the first of the modern civilisations to figure out the joy of slow living was the Italians. Known for rebuffing the chaos in favour of the sweetness of doing nothing (Dolce far niente), they started the slow food movement in the 1980s. What started off as embracing traditional food production techniques to be healthier has become an alternative to fast food culture and a statement against the negative environmental consequences of consumerism.
While it may seem like an impractical idea, more and more people are incorporating slow living into their lives even in tiny measures as they can afford to. Those who do not have the luxury to quit their jobs and move to a coastal town are also trying to adapt to a new lifestyle. This is the reason the reel celebrating Dolce far niente is popping up on your Instagram feed at least once a day.
It could be the pandemic prompting people to pause and rethink what it means to live. There definitely has been a shift in the way people perceive the world, especially millennials and GenZ who drew the short straw in regards to the economy. Hustle is no longer as attractive as it was. People are realising life is way too short to be working themselves to the deathbed. Even those who are hustling want a morning of leisure and are working toward having an entire weekend of it.
How to practice slow living
Contrary to popular belief, the term 'slow' refers to more than just the pace of the lifestyle. It is an acronym for four key aspects - sustainable, local, organic, and whole. Since the concept was introduced to the modern world as a food movement, SLOW dictates what kind of foods are preferred. While locally produced whole foods are favoured, genetically engineered or mass-produced foods are not something to be excited about.
What you choose to eat is a complex decision driven by a lot of factors including habit and availability. Starting with eating simpler and healthier meals will set the tone for your day. However, making new choices and breaking away from routine can cause anxiety and unhappiness. An easier step to initiate slow eating is to reduce overconsumption. Listen to your body and consume what it needs. A lot of the food you eat is empty calories that do not do any good to your body.
The idea of slow living is meant to make your life easier. The big plan you design for adapting a new lifestyle will defeat its purpose because you are assigning yourself more tasks. Baby steps should be at the core of your new life.
Four tasks to transition to slow living
Think like a minimalist
Minimalism is a great way to slow down when you are feeling depleted. To focus on things and moments that truly matter, you need to assess each item, goal, responsibility, relationship, commitment, and task. Ask yourself if you truly need it. Decluttering is a great start for every new project. However, you are not in a hurry to finish this project and are taking time with each aspect. Once your space and brain are cleaned up, you can start working through your emotions.
Design one perfect morning
The idea of perfection varies vastly from person to person. Make a list of what you dream of a peaceful morning to be. Most people are used to imagining a perfect morning to be a productive one with one hour of exercise and a superfood-laden vegetable smoothie. While it is a healthy way to start your day, you do not have to rush through several things in the same morning. Contemplate what you truly want to do. Do you want to cycle through the town before the bustle of the vehicles starts? Do you want to watch the sunrise on the beach?
Slow living is about feeding your soul with patience and connection to your surroundings. Sensory overload can dull the way you experience life. You need to detox and reconnect with the planet you live on. Indulging in what your town has to offer is a great start.
Take more time to get things done
The internet is filled with tips on utilising your 24 hours in the best way possible and that often involves getting more things done. Slow living enthusiasts are not that excited about checking off more tasks from the to-do list. Being productive is now more about intentions and passion and creativity. The point is to leave the idea of racing to success behind.
You also need to spend time with yourself because people are never alone now due to the invasion of social media. Contrary to what the networking enthusiasts and influencers are trying to convince you, solitude is a wonderful thing as it recharges your soul.
Pick up a hobby to be your centre of gravity
Slow living emphasises that the solace for your troubled mind is within. While you can unburden in front of your dear ones, peace of mind can only be achieved with your own efforts. There is little chance you can immediately change the circumstances that caused you discomfort.
You need a hobby that will serve as your centre of gravity. This is what you come back to when you need to reset your mind. It can be anything ranging from reading and gardening to painting and knitting. Choose something that will demand your attention and physical presence. It also has to be an activity that takes time to make progress because soothing your mind is not a quick task.
One rule to live by
The only rule of slow living is to be true to yourself because no one else can define meaningful life for you. The goal of this lifestyle is to give you the freedom to choose what puts you at ease.